WTIC Radio's Scott Gray dedicated his "A Comment from the Sports World" column on Wednesday, April 30, to Ken Gwozdz '70 of Enfield, who was a two-sport star at the University of Hartford, where he was inducted into the Hartford Hawks Athletics Hall of Fame as both a basketball player and a baseball player. Gwozdz passed away on Monday evening (April 28) of complications from an illness he courageously battled for several years.
"He leaves one of those voids that can never be filled, because there just isn’t anyone out there big enough to fill it," said Gray, who talked about Gwozdz's 35-year career as an educator in the East Hartford school system, where he served not only as a teacher, activities director and interim assistant principal, but also as a coach and an advisor who took a special interest in helping troubled youth find the best in themselves.
Gray also noted that "in 1992, on his own time, with his own efforts, Ken established the Student Assistance Center, which went on to earn national recognition. The center used peer mediation to solve conflicts among students before they had a chance to become violent, teaching students to reach their potential through safe and peaceful methods. In the first three years of the program suspensions in the East Hartford school system were reduced by more than 50 percent and in 1995 Ken’s program was one of only seven such nationally to be recognized for its efforts by USA Today."
Gwozdz, who was inducted into the University's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993, scored 1,264 points and grabbed 1,028 rebounds during his college basketball career. He was a basketball AP Honorable Mention All-American (1968-69) and was twice chosen UPI All-New England in basketball. He was a two-time University of Hartford Athlete of the Year and was captain of the basketball and baseball teams as a senior.
Click here to listen to Scott Gray's column or to read a transcript of it.